As the war in Afghanistan takes a heavy toll of young British lives there have rightly been demands that we must provide the best possible equipment for our troops. It is also vital that those who return injured both physically and mentally are properly cared for. A friend told me of the superb work of Major Phil Packer – a disabled officer in the Royal Military Police. He spoke at Haslemere Hall recently. His fundraising campaigns have raised huge sums for Help for Heroes. Such charity work is inspirational. For Phil’s website click here
Sadly the care offered by the NHS to military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder is not so inspirational according to the head of the charity Combat Stress. Commodore Toby Elliott says his charity has 9,000 registered patients but the government provides for less than half of them. He says that NHS mental health pilot schemes are inadequate and may end up providing a patchy service. 300 former service personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are being treated by the charity, which looks after veterans with psychological injuries. See the Combat Stress website by clicking here
Whatever we may think of the Afghan war and the rather muddled war aims set by the powers that be, our troops are putting their lives on the line there. We have an absolute duty to provide high quality care and support for those who return disabled, injured or traumatised. Whilst the work of many hard working charities is to be applauded, it must be the responsibility of our government to ensure that these young men and women receive the best possible treatment.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for South West Surrey
Click here for www.mikesimpson.org.uk